A lighthearted Mission Impossible for feisty senior citizens bent on social justice.

THE LITTLE OLD LADY BEHAVING BADLY

When a group of senior citizens retrofits a garbage truck to siphon millions out of a major Swedish bank, the authorities are left clueless: The League of Pensioners strikes again!

Martha and her retired friends return in this, Ingelman-Sundberg’s (The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again, 2017, etc.) third installment in the League of Pensioners series. Martha, Brains, Anna-Greta, Christina, and Rake continue scheming to raise funds to distribute to the hardworking poor and to build their dream village for retired folk. Of course, their fundraising methods remain illegal, but it's hard to blame them for targeting ageist, exorbitantly wealthy, tax-evading criminals. In addition to (somewhat smelly) millions of kroner, they have collected diamonds, jewelry, and gold bars. Eager to distribute the money to the underpaid and underappreciated, the gang opens a restaurant on a barge. Patrons are encouraged to sit at the singles table to play a dating app designed by Anna-Greta. Whether or not they find a love match, everyone leaves with a parting gift: cash. The cost of doing business, however, is outwitting local gangsters, Russian oligarchs, and Blomberg, the retired police detective who failed to nab the pensioners in Ingelman-Sundberg’s first two books. The oldsters are spry—practicing yoga and gymnastics—and sly—eluding villains at every turn with Anna-Greta's crack computer skills, Brains’ inventions, and Martha's savvy acting chops. The escapades escalate quickly to riskier, more profitable hijinks. Extortion in Sweden, stolen luxury yachts in San Tropez, money laundering in the Cayman Islands: Ingelman-Sundberg keeps the pace fast with just enough suspense—can the gang pull off this caper, too?—to make each success exhilarating. So it's easy to sympathize with Martha's burgeoning career as Miss Marple's spry, scheming, Swedish cousin. Poor Brains may never tie her down in matrimony.

A lighthearted Mission Impossible for feisty senior citizens bent on social justice.

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-269233-7

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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